Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Category: Books & Learning (page 1 of 2)

Review: Quantum Cards by Brainsmith

BabyT has been an early talker and his vocabulary consisted of 20 odd words by the time he was 1. He could identify most vegetables, fruits, animals and birds. No, he was not born with this skill. It was something he acquired. How did we do this? Books, a lot of them. But largely it was do with Flash Cards. Our positive experience with Flash Cards convinced me that this was a great way to learn for babies. It stimulated the right skills and so learning happened very quickly. And when I heard of Quantum Cards by Brainsmith I was stunned to see that this was a well researched and thought about product. I was sure flash cards would do #babyT a world of good. But more than that I was intrigued to know how Brainsmith did their Flash Cards differently.

I wrote to Brainsmith and asked if I could use and review their products. They responded quite positively and enthusiastically and the very next day I had the cards in my hand. I was sent the cards titled as Mammals. Now my first thought when I saw the pack was that the concept may be too advanced for babyT at 16 months. But I decided to trust Brainsmith when they said that these cards were suitable for children  from the age of 8 months.

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As with most things, I let babyT open the package himself. He gets quite excited whenever there is a courier package that arrives at home. His orders are to “Kaat” the box and let him rummage through the contents. This gets him quite enthused to use the product (most of the couriers are for him anyway. When did we moms ever buy anything for ourselves right?)

How we started using the Quantum Cards:

  1. We followed the instructions that Brainsmith recommends. To flash each card in front of the child who is to be seated facing you. While doing so you must announce the name of the object or person on the card face.
  2. The whole process should be done quickly say within 15 to 20 seconds. If the child is able to speak, pause between each card to let them repeat the name.
  3. Repeat the process a couple of times per day.
  4. Follow one set for about 3 weeks and then move on to another set of cards.

#BabyT picks up names and new words fairly quickly and within 3 to 5 flashes of the card knew at least half of the animal names – His early picks were Maatayk (Macaque Monkey), Paanda (Panda), Mooch (Moose), Owrus (Walrus), Beear (Beaver) Within another week or so he had picked the rest of the names – Kwala (Koala), Buu Whale (Blue Whale), Kaaroo (Kangaroo), Jaapu (Giraffe – I have no idea why its Jaapu), Fai Fossh (Flying Fox).

I then decided to venture deeper. Now this is the speciality of Brainsmith’s Quantum Cards. They are encyclopaedic and contain a lot of information about the animals on the back side of the card. This information covers the habitat and living conditions of the animal. It also gives inputs about what their primary diet consists of and their habits.

I did realise that some of this information may make no sense to babyT right now. However I picked the simpler ones such as what they ate and where they lived and went with it. For example, he learned that the Maatayk (Macaque monkey) eats fruits, bugs and eggs. He knows that the West African Giraffe lives in Appeeka (Africa.)  and eats leaves and tree twigs. ((Sometimes when daddy is really late from work, babyT says he had gone to Appeeka. I am happy that he knows that Apeeka is really far away and so it takes a long time to get back from. hahha)) BabyT also tells us that the Boo Whale (Blue Whale) lives in the water.

Other ways I supplemented learning with Brainsmith’s Quantum Cards:

  1. Our backyard is lush in Bamboo plants. I got the gardener to bring us some bamboo leaves and showed babyT what Pandas eat. It was nice for babyT to touch and feel the bamboo leaves. He now says Bamboo excitedly when we talk about the Panda card.
  2. Showed him very short YouTube videos of these animals from the National Geographic Kids channel. I don’t think babyT will see a real live Walrus anytime soon. Some screen time when it is educational and supported by adult intervention and supervision is justified. BabyT was really delighted to see these animals come to life on the telly. He enthusiastically picked out all the cards when the matching animal turned up on the TV.
  3. Played Where is …? with the cards.
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    Spread the cards out in the playroom and asked him to go fetch them when I said the name of the animal.
  4. I bought matching animal figurines for him from Hamleys. Sadly I found only the Giraffe and Macaque monkey of all things. But he loves holding and hugging them both. The figurines from Hamleys are very real and look exactly like they do on the cards.
  5. At random times in the day, even if the cards are not around us I ask him questions about the cards.  Say we are reading a book about the ocean or seas and we spot a walrus, I ask him about it and what it eats and how it looks. BabyT loves imitating a walrus with its two teeth sticking out. 🙂
  6. We make sure whoever comes home, has a session with the cards. So if it is grandparents or friends visiting, babyT fishes out his cards and tells them all that he knows about his mammal friends.

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What I love about Brainsmith’s Quantum Cards:
  1. Great quality cards. BabyT has bent, sat and folded the cards in a million ways. But they don’t really get bent too badly. This is because the paper itself is of a superlative quality.
  2. The images are so artistic and professionally drawn. Brainsmith says all the images are licensed and hand drawn and painted. The fine work shows and is a true reflection of what that object must look like in real life.
  3. The cards themselves are huge. The images therefore are large and contrast well against the clean, white background. This helps create a visual impact on the mind. It stimulates visual learning. When the different senses are used to learn, the learning is more permanent.
  4. The information provided behind each card is succinct and will suit younger children as well as older ones. I am sure we will keep finding new elements about each animal as babyT grows up.
  5. Each set contains 10 cards which is good for a one time learning activity. Other flash cards sets that I have, had like 20 to 30 cards and even I found it too boring to go through them all. I also love the summary card which has images of all the mammals on it. BabyT loves reading and pointing the animals out on his own here.

My ratings for Brainsmith’s Quantum Cards:

  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Appearance: 5/5 I love the illustrations and the colours. They are classy and appealing. At the same time they contribute to learning.
  • Value for money: 4/5 It is a little expensive at Rs. 699 for a set. However the quality is unmatched.  You can buy a combo pack for a discounted price.
  • Meets its objective: 10/5 hahah .. I do know my math. I am very impressed with the results. And I would highly recommend it to you.

Do you need to use Quantum Cards for your little ones? Yes, you do. I have seen the value that a set of Flash Cards brings. I would love for you to experience the same. Do let me know how your experience was or if you have already used Brainsmith Quantum cards and what you thought of them.

Review: Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal – Write

When a fellow mommy in our Mom Blogger Chatter group told us about the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal review contest I was intrigued. What a lovely way to market a product? But that was not all there was to it. The journals themselves were breathtakingly beautiful. I was truly spoiled for choice to select one, but finally settled on the Write series. The deep red colour with the golden polka dots and the feather plume on the cover page felt like the right choice for me and my new avatar as a blogger.

So I signed up for the contest. And we mom bloggers made a blog train out of this review contest. I am following in the footsteps of my fellow mom blogger friend Swati Verma Do read her review of the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal on her blog. And don’t forget to follow her on Instagram for some lovely insights into her life.

The Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal is available in four types:
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4 choices of Matrikas Woman’s Journal to choose from

  • Blue – Fish – Glide
  • Red – Plume (Feather) – Write
  • Grey – Dragonfly – Fly
  • Hot Pink – Butterfly – Dream

I chose the Red Journal – the Feather Plume for Write. I wanted a planner which would help me keep up with the growing demands of my role as a blogger. As I mentioned earlier too, I was really drawn to the deep red & gold designs on the cover page too.

I signed up on the Matrika’s Paper Products Facebook page for the Scribble Your Heart Away review contest. The journal arrived promptly in a few days. There was also a personalized letter by Team Matrika’s which thanked us for choosing them and explaining the way ahead with the contest.

The Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal is a fun to use journal for a woman who uses the diary to write her dreams and escape to a different place, says the welcome note inside the journal.

The journal itself is easy to use and has an uncomplicated format. It has a set of ruled sheets which are undated which makes it a charm to use a page for any day. Sometimes I don’t get time to plan each day, or there are not enough items on my to-do list.

Undated day pages, means I can start off my day plan/ writing from any day

Having an undated page format is lovely because I can start off from any day. This also saves paper. How #ecofriendly is that? Also you can really set soar on your creative journey. I used the ruled sheets to plan my blog posts. Here is a post I am planning about teaching colours to my little boy.

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Blog post planning in a creative way

Trust me when I say this. I am not a very creative person when it comes to actual drawing, colouring etc. But Matrikas Creative Woman’s Journal has really inspired to do something like this.

When I received the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal, I was so impressed by its design and pages concept (as you will see shortly) that I went and bought a lot of stationery. Coloured pencils, stickers, colourful post-it notes and gel pens. Together they really brought out the creative genius in me and here is my visual representation of the same. My blog posts are no longer just in my head. I have a reference point and it makes work so much quicker.

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Adult colouring page – so therapeutic at the end of each day.

After each section of ruled paper sheets, it has a beautiful adult colouring page. I indulge in this every night, after #babyT has slept. It is a big stress buster for me.

This particular colouring page was my favourite. I would colour the leaves as per the mood of the day – joyful green, happy red, upset orange or just feeling low blue. I am happy there were so many joyful greens here.

 

 

 

The adult colouring sheets are then followed by plain doodle sheets. I used these sheets to list down some important areas which I need to work on but which have been pending for long. I also used this page for a Today I am grateful for section.

Being a mother has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The joy and love I receive everyday is unparalleled. However there are also trying times. I am not ashamed to say that there are days when I feel I have failed at being a good mother. There are days when I feel guilty for reacting in a particular manner with people around me. I also feel like motherhood was not meant for me, I am doing such a bad job of it. But I also know that I am doing a fairly ok job of raising a good, happy, healthy and content child. I had no prior experience but this is a job which I am learning on the go. And rocking at it too. I juggle so many roles and responsibilities and I still stand tall at the end of the day.

But this is something which I need constant reminders of. I also need to be thankful for all the love, support and encouragement I receive from my family and my friends. This is why I started the Today I am grateful for section. I look back often at this page and feel reassured that All is Well.

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Stickers. Who doesn’t love stickers?

My task for starting this section was made easier by the special feature in the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal – namely the stickers section. Yes, you heard right?  The journal has a separate section with 4 pages of thought provoking and inspiring stickers. You can stick these on the regular ruled sheets or on the doodle section to give a kick start to your thoughts and plans.

The last few pages of the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal are list pages. Here you can list the books you want to read, the places you want to visit or simply important phone numbers and addresses. Isn’t it wonderful that the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal is really a one-stop place for all that you need in a mom journal?

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Sleeve to store small notes or cards

There are also some add on features in the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal like this sleeve to store small stationary or notes. I use this section to store my visiting cards. How do you like my cards? Bright and colourful just like my Instagram feed. Follow me here: MommyingbabyT

As with all my reviews, what I loved about the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal is:

  • Bright and eye catching cover
  • Page concepts – ruled undated, the colouring sheets and the stickers really impressed me
  • Quality of materials and paper used – the cover is special fabric bound. The inner pages are also thick.
  • Place to store my visiting cards is really handy
  • It is available at a great price of Rs. 450

What I felt could be better? Nothing really. I loved how the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal gives me structure by way of the ruled sheets and the list sheets at the end. I equally loved how it gives me freedom to take wings and soar with creativity with the blank doodle sheets and the colouring pages. It is perfect for a mom. I have tried to plan my life on paper, many times before. However I lose steam soon enough. But when you have a beautiful and inspiring journal like the Matrika’s Creative Woman’s Journal all you want to do is plan, write, dream and soar.

I am now handing over the baton to my fellow Mommy Blogger, Vasantha Vivek. Do watch out for her review on her blog Mysweetnothings.in And follow her on her Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

<< This review is a part of the Matrika’s Stationery Blogger Outreach Program and contest. The journal was sent to me for a review. I have used the journal over the course of several weeks. All the viewpoints mentioned in the review are based on my experience. 
This post contains affiliate links. >>

Baby Books – Introducing Art to babies

Once you’re a mom … something happens to your brain. The nesting syndrome transforms into the hoarding syndrome and you end up with baby clothes, baby blankets, cloth diapers, toys, baby carriers and baby BOOKS!

BabyT has close to 100 baby books by now. Two shelf fulls and two big Amazon box fulls. We mostly read just 10 of those baby books very regularly, but we still continue to buy. We are #raisingareader after all and here is how we do it.

Baby books have been a great source of bonding for both babyT and us. Whenever he is feeling bored or wants to vie for our attention he runs to fetch a book from his playroom, insists to sit on my lap and says “Booka Booka” prodding me to keep my phone aside and read to him. As for me, if babyT is edgy and cranky and overstimulated, I know reading a baby book is what gets him to calm down and soothe himself again. Win for both parties. <3

I have always been keen to introduce babyT to art and museums and the sort. I even have an art teacher in mind for him once he is a little older. 🙂 But this past week I have been jumping with joy for this precious find on Amazon. Baby books about Art!

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It is a boxed set of 4 mini board books and features some of my favouritest artists – Monet and Van Gogh. But what I love and absolutely adore about these books is how beautifully they weave a story that would appeal to babies around the masterpiece artworks by these grand masters of Art.

I especially love In the Garden with Van Gogh . BabyT has taken a liking to Dancing with Degas. I guess he likes the movement, action and the rhythm in it.

If you are an art lover and want a really sweet and adorable way to introduce your littles to Art, then add these baby books to cart right now.

W is for “Who Says Woof?”

When I started the #AtoZBloggingChallenge I knew what the letter W would stand for.. our favourite book by our favourite children’s author John Butler of course.

W is for Who Says Woof

I buy most of babyT’s books preloved and my favourite store is Eat Play Read.  I first chanced upon the book Who Says Woof? during an online book stocking here in September last year. I grabbed it because the cover page looked cute.

When the book arrived and I began reading it to babyT, he had just turned 9 months then, I was amazed how quickly he was picking up the sounds of the animals in them. His favourite was “Who says Baa?” He kept repeating Baa Baa Baa all day long. Once when we were out on the road, he saw a cow on the road (this is India. 🙂 and said Mooo I had hit the home-run, the book was teaching him something.  He also loved looking at the pictures. And as with most babies I was made to read that book to him twenty five times in a day… 

What I loved about this book?

  • Has beautiful illustration by John Butler. He is an illustrator and author of children’s books, most of which are about animals and their little families.
  • I like the fact that he keeps the design theme constant in all of his books. So the bears look the same in all the books. Its like a collection of related books. Very collectible.
  • The words are few in this particular book. (There are other books for older children with longer sentences too.)
  • It helps to build a guessing game with your baby… Who says Woof? Turn the page. A dog says Woof. & Who says Miaow? Turn the page. A cat says Miaow.

    Who says Miaow.

  • It taught babyT all that he knows about animals and the sounds that they make. His favourite animal is now the Miaow Cat.

    We knew all these by 10 months. 🙂 <3

We then fell in love so much with the book and John Butler’s illustrations that we went on a mission to find more of his books. Some were bought from Eat Play Read and some from Amazon.

The new additions

Our current favourite among these is Can you growl like a bear? 

After all the cute little domestic and gentle animals from Who says Woof? this book talks about the ones that live in the jungles – bear, chimp, elephant, wolf and some more. BabyT loves imitating the noises that these animals and birds make in the book. “Can you roar like a leopard..?” 

How gorgeous are the illustrations again? This particular page reminds me of a warm sunny day in summer spent wandering aimlessly in a park in London. <3

I don’t know how but this book somehow succeeds to make me yawn by the time we get to the last page. All the animals are going about their business, making the respective noises that they do and soon day turns to night, the wolf howls at the moon (babyT and I love to throw up our head and go Howwwwllll), the panda mommy and her little baby panda snuggle up for the night and soon…

This could work very well as a bedtime story.

This reminds me today is #TellaStoryDay and is celebrated in the USA and UK. I love how apt today’s title is to the event. On #TellaStoryDay people are encouraged to tell a story, not just read books, but share a personal story with your loved ones or on social media. And that is just what I am doing, telling you about my love affair with these baby books and how much they are loved and enjoyed in our home. 🙂

 

H is for Hungry Caterpillar: our favourite book

I have been waiting for the letter H.

H is for (the) Hungry Caterpillar – our favourite book by Eric Carle. This is a very popular book and most babies begin their book love journey from this one. We have had our copy since #babyT was a month old. And have been reading to him since then.

Everywhere we go, the book goes with us

Not just in our home, but the Hungry Caterpillar is a very popular book across the world and it is even used as a reading book in preschoolers in the some countries. I came across this when I browsed google to see if any blog posts existed on this topic. 😛
So why am I writing a whole blog post about a  children’s book, which has been much loved and sadly, hated by some quarters? Because this book is so versatile.. it has grown with us. Like any good book, its relevance only comes forth with time and experience/ stage of life. Right from the time #babyT was a month old to today at 15 months, we have found something new to marvel upon and learn.  Continue reading

B is for Books: How we are #raisingareader

A small background –  Ok, so I just learnt today about the A to Z blogging challenge and it sounds like a great opportunity to get me into the groove with my blog. So obviously I have missed the theme reveal and the letter A (I shall nonetheless blog about A is for) but with this challenge I want to talk about all things baby, mommy and babyT and our life. This month is jam packed with lots of plans, events, family time, celebrations and some more plans and I think it will surely be an ideal time to be blogging about it. So here we go!


B is for Books

One of the first things I added to my shopping cart for all the baby shopping I did before I had babyT was books. 🙂 I was reading aloud to him when he was in my tummy – I used to read a book about a little bunny, panchatantra tales and of course What to Expect when you’re Expecting. 🙂  And not only me, I made sure daddy-to-be and my parents (babies grandparents) also took turns to read my growing tummy.

I knew I wanted to surround our little one with books.   Continue reading

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